We all have certain triggers that bring back unpleasant memories. I grew up in the late 1970s and early ’80s when Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda and aerobic exercise were all the rage. Whether it be sweatpants and a T-shirt, or a matching set with a jacket, the sweat suit design was intended to be comfortable and promote exercise and relaxation. For me it was just the opposite.

Whether for a date with her husband, Tony, or to meet with students, Sheri always looks her best.

Whether for a date with her husband, Tony, or to meet with students (below), Sheri always looks her best.

I became a C4 quadriplegic in 1983 when I was 16, and although very athletic, I did not willingly wear sweat suits before my injury. Like my friends, I’d wear a T-shirt with sweatpants. Suddenly, I was hospitalized and spending my days and nights in bed and for a long time was unaware of, or not focused on, my clothing. After a month-long initial hospitalization, I spent eight more months at a rehabilitation facility.
As usual for a 16-year-old girl, body image was quite important to me. However my daily “uniform” at rehab consisted of various multicolored velour sweat suits that my parents brought in. Regardless of the weather, I wore high-top sneakers, compression stockings and a sweat suit